Awards Night 2018

Photographs of Awards Night are presented in a slideshow at the end of this article. In addition to the academic awards presented during Awards Night, there are two Sturgis awards presented to four graduating seniors that merit special recognition: the William Sturgis Award and Sturgis Spirit Award. Full text of the William Sturgis and Sturgis Spirit Award presentations follow.

Paul Marble Welcomes Sturgis Families to Awards Night

Welcome to Awards Night 2018 – Paul Marble, Executive Director

Good evening, and welcome to the Sturgis Awards night.

Today, is a rare day at Sturgis. We are very careful to avoid many of the traditional markers of success, such as Salutatorian, Valedictorian, National Honor Society, Class Rank, Honor Roll, etc. We feel that those markers get in the way of our building a communal appreciation for learning and growth.

Tonight, though, we pause to celebrate and promote the learning and growth that is occurring in our students. While you won’t hear teachers speak much of grades, scores, nor rankings, you will hear a great deal about student achievement and growth; our values; and the strong relationships between teachers and students.

Seizing on this rare day, I’d like to celebrate Sturgis’ 20th Anniversary, the IB Organization’s 50th Anniversary, and our being the only American public school highlighted in the IB Organization’s 50th Anniversary documentary entitled A Better World Through Education. I would also like to reference a  recent letter we received from the IB Organization, namely David Weiss – Head of US Public Schools – and Adrian Kearney – Director of IB World Schools.

I would like to read a select passage tonight:

The International Baccalaureate recognizes the success of Sturgis and holds the school up as a model of success. The video portrait of Sturgis is part of the IB’s 50th anniversary video which will be shown at our global conference this summer. The school is continuously used as a case study for promoting excellence and equity in education. The success of your  students place Sturgis among the top performing International Baccalaureate schools in the country based on both participation and student performance. The rich diversity of your course offerings enables Sturgis to empower students to complete the full International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

There are three key phrases in that paragraph that I would like to highlight for tonight: excellence + equity; participation + performance; and empowering students. Please keep these in mind tonight as we celebrate and promote our students achievement and growth, and bask in the effects of our collective work to achieve “IB for All”.

Thank you for listening. Guiding us through our special occasion tonight are our Principals . It is my pleasure to introduce you to them now as our Masters of Ceremonies.

William Sturgis Award

The William Sturgis Award is given to one boy and one girl on each campus who, in the opinion of classmates and faculty, embody the positive attitude and exemplary conduct represented by the Sturgis Code of Conduct and Rules to Live By. Each of the William Sturgis Award winners will receive a $500 college scholarship sponsored by the Sturgis Parents Association.

Sturgis Code of Conduct

The Sturgis Charter Public School community values intellectual curiosity and the life of the mind, believing academic achievement to be the result of serious, persistent effort, rather than innate ability or socio-economic advantage.  Sturgis also prizes individual responsibility, initiative, respect for self and others, self-discipline, moral integrity, creativity and leadership.  These values are articulated in the “Sturgis Compact”, the principles that guided the formation of the school.

Beyond these shared attitudes, beliefs, and values, Sturgis cultivates in its students an espirit de corps–a “sense of union and of common interests and responsibilities”–that will encourage students to support each other through four years of challenging academic work leading to high-stakes exams.

The Sturgis Code of Conduct supports the kind of educational environment the trustees and faculty believe is essential to achieving the mission of the school.  In keeping with the school’s maritime inspiration, Sturgis uses the analogy of a ship and its crew to illustrate what can be accomplished when everyone works together to reach a common destination.  For Sturgis students, the common goal is meeting world-class standards of academic achievement while growing in individual curiosity, character, and courage.  Such a goal is achievable only in an environment where there is absolute adherence to respect, responsibility, and safety for self, for others, and for the school and larger community.

Rules to Live By

Be a person of integrity. Act honorably.
Be kind, polite, and caring at all times. Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Strive for excellence without arrogance. Do your best.
Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your parents to know about.
Respect the positions and ideas of those around you, even if you don’t like them. Keep an open mind.
Allow for imperfections in others; you’re not perfect yourself.
Tolerate honest mistakes from people that are doing their best.
Lead by example.
Speak well of others; gossip undermines human dignity.
Seek the truth in all matters.
Celebrate life with humor.
Live and learn, but teach others as well.

East Campus

Presented by Patrick O’Kane, Sturgis East Principal

Matt Donahue

Mr. O’Kane Presents the East Campus William Sturgis Awards

This year’s male recipient is a student with true grit. He is always cordial, well mannered and respectful.  He is one of those students who teachers love to have in class because he is genuinely interested in what he is learning.  People love being around him because of his relaxed nature and good humor.  He is active in boys soccer, basketball, stormwatch, track and field, tutoring, as well as his local youth ministry

Some comments from staff members:  

  • He is resilient and perseveres.  He is completing HL requirements in an SL class.  
  • He steps out of his comfort zone and is willing to give more than he gets.
  • I was certain, at the beginning of his eleventh grade, that he was just a grade chaser, but gradually, over the year I realized that he’s just a really nice, friendly guy who also wants high grades.
  • If I were in my class, I’d want to sit next to him.

Sophie Gibson

Sophie Gibson & Matt Donahue- 2018 William Sturgis Award Winners, East Campus

In preparing my remarks for this year’s female recipient I hit a bit of a wall.  As you can gather, I typically ask staff for insights and remarks about each award winner…note to all future leaders–delegation is key!  Anyway, as of this morning, I had to put a second call out for this candidate….nobody had responded to my first request. Turns out everyone just assumed I would be flooded with accolades from everyone else.  After my second request, lets just say the flood gates opened wide. Some words from staff:

  • She carries herself with humility and class in spite of her many academic gifts
  • Contrary to what some of her peers might say,  I don’t expect her to rule the world one day; I expect her to help the world one day.
  • If I stepped out to make copies, she could teach my class….but I never tried this out of fear she would do a better job than me.
  • She has been a key team member in the fabrication and production of the Sturgis Dolphin Carrier, the first and only high school invention purchased by IFAW.
  • She has taken two higher level math courses
  • She chose chemistry as the subject area for her 4000 word extended essay investigation …..and then wrote it in Spanish.
  • She is someone who excels in her own pursuits, yet at the same time she is equally concerned with serving and elevating those around her.

West Campus

Presented by Jenn Kirk, Sturgis West Principal

Jenn Kirk Presents Matt Aguiar with the 2018 William Sturgis Award

Matt Aguiar

This student approaches all of his endeavors with 100% engagement, always striving to do his best, and willing to put in the hours needed to do so.  He is confident yet humble.  He’s never been heard bragging about his achievements.  He is always encouraging toward his classmates, and personable yet respectful with teachers.

He doesn’t hesitate to ask questions – but almost always tries to figure out the answer himself first – and shows his planning by asking for an extension far in advance if he ever needs an extra day to complete an assignment.  He is a remarkable teen whose work ethic is extraordinary and whose consideration of others is limitless.  Already, he has established himself as a skilled and compassionate teacher of children and teens who are learning about computer programming.   

He has touched the hearts of many with his courtesy, his joy in learning, and his kindness to everyone with whom he interacts. Sturgis has been greatly enriched by this student’s presence and he will be deeply missed.

Tori Mondello Receives the 2018 William Sturgis Award, West Campus

Tori Mondello

This student takes great pride in everything she does, showing her dedication and determination.  She is a multi-talented young lady who has the ability to adapt instantly and succeed in any situation.  

Her growth and leadership in the arts and theatre at Sturgis has been an incredible thing to watch. She is one of the core student contributors to the continued success of the STAGE program and has been an integral part of the jazz band.  She is also a strong leader of our GSA program and advocate for the LGBTQ community at Sturgis.

She is the first to volunteer to lead tours of our school to prospective students and parents.  She epitomizes what it means to be a Sturgis student. She has been known to take younger students under her wing  so she can teach by modeling. She has an incredible way of making everyone feel comfortable and valued.


School Spirit Award

The School Spirit Award is given to one boy and one girl who, in the opinion of classmates and faculty, contribute to fostering school spirit through their enthusiasm, positive attitude and concern for others both within and beyond the classroom.

East Campus

Presented by Patrick O’Kane, Sturgis East Principal

Heather Kelsey & Aidan Smith, 2018 School Spirit Award Winners, East Campus

Heather Kelsey

Faculty describe this year’s female recipient as an excellent student who embodies all of the learner profile traits.  She will do anything if it helps someone or the community at large. While unassuming, her smile betrays her warm and friendly demeanor.  She never seems to have a bad day. She is a peer tutor, participates in relay for life, volunteers with the Salvation Army and Special Olympics, a member of the volleyball team and was a captain of the cheer team.

Aidan Smith

This year’s male recipient is someone who has learned how to channel his energies into positive school spirit.  He is respectful to adults and thoughtful in his decision making without losing his enthusiasm and charm in the process.  The result is the perfect combination of friend to all and an enthusiastic student leader respected by the entire Sturgis community.  

He is an active member of the student council, boys soccer team and combined East/West track team–leaving his positive mark on Sturgis West students as well.  Like his recent predecessors, this year’s recipient bleeds blue every day.


West Campus

Ludjy Butter Receives the 2018 Sturgis Spirit Award, West Campus

Presented by Jenn Kirk, Sturgis West Principal

Ludjy Butter

The first recipient of this award has been described as the glue of the student body and the life of the upstairs hallway – her face can always be seen smiling and her voice can always be heard asking how people are doing.  She has a natural ability to connect with people, instinctively finding ways each day to help others in need.

One teacher described her as the  the unofficial greeter of Sturgis. In addition to welcoming students to school every day, she has attended every Sturgis West tour for incoming students and shares her love and enthusiasm for the school.

She is a leader. Her leadership was evident early on – during freshmen year there was a small issue in the freshmen hallway. Butter said she would take care of it…and then she proceeded to stand on a chair and indeed, took care of it.   

She is upbeat and spirited and has made countless contributions to our school community, bringing students, faculty, and staff together for the betterment of our school.  

Ebsen Receives the 2018 School Spirit Award, West Campus

Ebsen Sylvestre

This student is an emblem of bright positive energy. he is a uniter – bringing people together – both in the classroom and on the foursquare court.

He personifies thoughtfulness.  For example, He loves donuts. He absolutely loves them.  Occassionally, on a donut day during long block, when the donuts are opened, this student will wait until everyone else has taken their donut of choice before taking his.  He is so passionate about Sturgis that he literally used to sprint to school.  

During a hike on the Appalachian Trail, many of the hikers were challenged and their spirits were tested. This student would say to Mr. Tecklenburg “How long till we get to camp?” He’d say 8 miles. A little time would pass and he would ask “How long till we get to camp?”  and Mr. Tecklenburg would say 8 miles minus 50 feet. Let the record show he made the eight miles.

During their unprecedented junior victory during spirit week, this student’s backflip was placed as one of the all-time great victory celebrations.  His devotion to his school, classmates, family, and community are amazing. He is truly the heart of Sturgis Class of 2018!




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